Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Too busy now for my own words. Am borrowing from Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God, from chapter 4, "Liberating God of Life," which we are covering in class for this week:

"Idolatry entails putting alien gods before the true God of the Bible, worshiping something which is not divine. In the Latin American situation these gods are money, the comforts it brings, and the power necessary to make and keep it. Starting with the conquistadores and continuing for five centuries through successive ruling systems up to multinational corporations today, greed has divinized money and its trappings, that is, turned them into an absolute. Core transgressions against the first commandment have set up a belief system so compelling that it might be called moneytheism, in contrast to monotheism.
Like all false gods, money and its trappings require the sacrifice of victims. Whether the poor are offered up indirectly through the economic conditions necessary to produce profit, or directly through the violence necessary to sustain those conditions, their lives are the sacrifice. What is most insidious is the way traditional preaching and theology put a superficial veneer of Christian  belief over the face of these idols...Neutral in the face of injustice, the racist, sexist, classist image of God perverts the actual contours of the living God in the service of moneyed interests" (79-80).

It won't fit on a sign. But it is to the point. I don't know if Jesus would #ows, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Sister Elizabeth there.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

breaking bad

FTR, I am ripping through these episodes like a, well, like an addict or something. (Thank you Netflix, you're such an enabler.)

And I love it. Not least because it makes me miss those gorgeous views of the Sandias I got to enjoy those brief summers I got to live in ABQ.

But two things really irk me.

First. Yes, this is highly personal and has to do with the constant, chronic and let's just own up to it, debilitating sleep deprivation I'm currently experiencing (the number of record screw-ups in the last few weeks! like, leaving my phone on the hood of the car, and misreading my own course schedule re the midterm date). I am so utterly pissed off at the way in which TV pregnancies, births, and babycare are depicted. The Whites are supposed to be living on a teacher's salary, and yet Skyler has a maternity wardrobe that never repeats itself? Come on. I will admit that the whole birth sequence was less annoying than is typical. No ridiculous scenes of women lying prone in hospital beds, screaming, cursing their spouses, and demanding immediate medication. But what's really bugging me at the moment, at episode 29, is that Baby Holly is the world's most autonomous, care-free infant. It's just No Big Thang to load her up and take her along to the bookkeeping office, where of course, she does nothing to interrupt getting work done. (I have yet to make good on my intention to book some office hours at NBTS with Baby Z in tow, and I struggle to do my course prep on a laptop on the living room floor beside her jumper contraption thing. It's pretty difficult to write a coherent lecture in 15-minute blocks of time interrupted more or less regularly by various demands for attention.) And at the hospital vigil? "Where's Holly?"/"I got a sitter." Right. Because it's No Big Thang to first, find a sitter, and second, feel completely comfortable leaving your newborn infant in someone else's hands for an extended and indefinite period of time. WTF. But for TV this is typical. The moment the drama of seeing the hotties morph into hot mamas with their baby bellies stuck onto curiously otherwise unmodified female frames (and then of course, morph smoothly right back to "normal" postpartum bods to be found on American television), and the drama of the unexpected public waterbreaking and screaming cursing medicated hospital-practice-dictated birth sequence is done...well, the baby's just not that interesting, and stories about people who function just above zombie level due to the intense energy drain that is actual care of a real infant just don't cut it. So TV babies are magical--they don't need feeding, certainly not breastfeeding, (oh the logistical horror of negotiating that on a TV show, right?), and they don't require any actual interaction on an ongoing basis. A symbolic bottle waved in the air, a symbolic diaper change--and then they disappear from the viewer's sight. You'd forget that they exist, except for the perfunctory references to them here and there in the dialogue. And all this from a show that, really, does a better than usual job on this stuff. SIGH. It makes me want to tear my hair out, but Baby Z's already regularly doing this for me.

And second, I was so totally struck by Walt's line to Jesse re the airplane crash: "I blame the government." The irony of this willingness to pin something like this on the government just blows me away, in this context where Breaking Bad as a narrative wouldn't even exist if Walt's cancer treatments weren't completely inaccessible for financial reasons. There's plenty of personal moral failure here, but really, on some level...I blame the government.